Disney’s Hollywood Studios FastPass+ Strategy, Tiers & Tips for 2021
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the FastPass system at Disney’s Hollywood Studios has been suspended. We will be the first to let you know when it resumes.
Disney World’s Hollywood Studios was once widely considered a half-day park, but recent additions, notably Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge and Toy Story Land, have transformed it into a full-day adventure. Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance is drawing huge crowds early in the morning, so it is more important than ever to have a successful FastPass+ (FastPass Plus or FP+) strategy.
This post will discuss Hollywood Studios FastPass+ ride tiers, timing, rope drops, and other tips. For our full FastPass+ series, see our guide on Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park, Epcot, and the Magic Kingdom.
How Do I Book FastPasses at Disney’s Hollywood Studios?
The best way to book a FastPass+ is by using the My Disney Experience App or online at Disney’s Official Website. Qualified Disney hotel guests can book 60 days in advance, while everyone else can book 30 days in advance. You can also use one of the three FastPass+ kiosks located inside Hollywood Studios.
- Corner of Hollywood Boulevard and Sunset Boulevard (near The Brown Derby)
- Sunset Boulevard (not far from the Tower of Terror and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster)
- Toy Story Land Entrance
While the kiosks can be helpful in certain situations, we recommend booking as far in advance as possible and using your phone for modifications throughout the day. This allows you to get the most popular FastPasses as well as the ability to modify and cancel on the fly.
How Does Hollywood Studios FastPass+ Tier System Work?
Like at other Disney World parks (the Magic Kingdom excluded), Hollywood Studios uses a tier system for FastPass distribution. You can book one Tier 1 FastPass and two Tier 2 FastPasses in advance for a total of three. You also have the option to book three Tier 2 FastPasses and no Tier 1 FastPasses. After using your initial three FastPasses, you will be able to book a fourth one.
Hollywood Studios Tier 1 FastPass Rides and Attractions
As of June 2020, the following three rides and attractions are Tier 1
|Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway||Hollywood Boulevard|
|Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run*||Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge|
|Slinky Dog Dash||Toy Story Land|
*Single Rider Line Available
Best Hollywood Studios Tier 1 FastPass Picks
1. Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway
2. Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run (if you do not use the single rider line)
3. Slinky Dog Dash
As the newest attraction, Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway is seeing the longest lines, but that can change over the next few months. In the meantime, we recommend targeting it as your Tier 1 FastPass and using the single rider line for Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run. If you are unable to secure a FastPass or are just not interested in riding Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway, we think Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run is a great second choice because it also regularly sees lines well over an hour.
If you are not interested in riding Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run or opt for the single rider line, Slinky Dog Dash is still a great pick as it consistently sees long lines throughout the day.
Hollywood Studios Tier 2 FastPass Rides and Attractions
As of June 2020, the following 12 rides and attractions are Tier 2
|Alien Swirling Saucers||Toy Story Land|
|Beauty and the Beast – Live on Stage||Sunset Boulevard|
|Disney Junior Dance Party!||Animation Courtyard|
|Fantasmic! (nighttime show)||Sunset Boulevard|
|A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration||Echo Lake|
|Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular!||Echo Lake|
|Muppet*Vision 3D||Grand Avenue|
|Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster*||Sunset Boulevard|
|Star Tours: The Adventures Continue||Echo Lake|
|Toy Story Mania!||Toy Story Land|
|The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror||Sunset Boulevard|
|Voyage of the Little Mermaid||Animation Courtyard|
*Single Rider Line Available
Best Hollywood Studios Tier 2 FastPass Picks
1. Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster (if you do not use the single rider line)
2. Toy Story Mania!
3. Tower of Terror
4. Alien Swirling Saucers
5. Everything Else
Assuming you already selected a Tier 1 FastPass, we recommend picking two from the following list of three for your Tier 2 selections: Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, Toy Story Mania, and Tower of Terror. If possible, you should use the single rider line for Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster and pick Toy Story Mania and Tower of Terror for your Tier 2 selections. Our next two recommendations are Alien Swirling Saucers and Star Tours.
Besides Alien Swirling Saucers and Star Tours, none of the other attractions on the Tier 2 list are going to consistently have incredibly long lines throughout the day. Unless nothing else is available, we do not recommend using your FastPasses on shows like Beauty and the Beast and Indiana Jones.
Because it is recommended that you arrive at least an hour before Fantasmic, it may be tempting to use that as one of your FastPasses. We only recommend doing this if you can get it later in the day after you use up your initial three FastPasses. If you schedule it beforehand as your third FastPass, it will take you to the end of the day and you will be unable to get additional FastPasses. An alternative is to book a Fantasmic Dining Package or Dessert Experience for VIP seating.
The Vacationer’s Ideal Hollywood Studios FastPass and Rope Drop Strategy
This strategy assumes you are booking three FastPasses in advance as well as arriving at rope drop. It also assumes you are taking advantage of every single rider line available
Arrive Early – Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance Boarding Pass
Rope Drop Attraction – Slinky Dog Dash
Single Rider Line – Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run
Single Rider Line – Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster
FP Tier 1 – Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway
FP Tier 2 – Tower of Terror
FP Tier 2 – Toy Story Mania
This strategy will almost guarantee minimal waiting for the majority of Hollywood Studios attractions.
The Vacationer Tip
Arrive early to Disney’s Hollywood Studios to get a Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance boarding pass and the chance to rope drop a popular attraction.
Multiple Single Rider Lines Can Change Your FastPass Strategy
As mentioned above, Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster have single rider lines available. As the name implies, this allows you to enter a different line meant for single riders that is separate from the standby and FastPass lines. You can still enter these lines with your group, but you will probably not be seated together. Wait times for single rider lines are usually much shorter than standby lines, but that is not always the case.
If your party decides to ride Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster via the single rider line, your FastPass strategy becomes much easier. For Tier 1, your choice will essentially come down to either Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway or Slinky Dog Dash. For Tier 2, your two choices will come down to Alien Swirling Saucers, Star Tours, Toy Story Mania and Tower of Terror
You Should Rope Drop Tier 1 Attractions That You Do Not Have A FastPass For
Since you can only schedule one Tier 1 FastPass and two Tier 2 FastPasses in advance, you should plan to ride attractions that you missed out on at park opening. This strategy is known as rope dropping. The huge crowds caused by the virtual queue for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance have made this strategy a little less effective than it used to be at Hollywood Studios, but it can still drastically reduce wait times early in the day.
For example, if your FastPasses are the following: Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, and Toy Story Mania. You should get in line for Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway or Slinky Dog Dash as soon as you enter the park, which will ideally be at the park opening. If you opt for Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway, you should be off soon enough to then ride the nearby Tower of Terror with a reasonable wait time. If you opt for Slinky Dog Dash, you can then ride Alien Swirling Saucers and use your FastPass for Toy Story Mania if it is scheduled for the morning.
Check Height Requirements Before Finalizing Your FastPass Plan
Before booking any FastPasses at Hollywood Studios, you should be aware of the height requirements if children are in your party. This list is subject to change, but here is the current list as of April 2020.
Rides/Attractions With a Height Requirement
- Alien Swirling Saucers – At least 32 inches / 81 centimeters
- Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run – At least 38 inches / 97 centimeters
- Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster – At least 48 inches / 22 centimeters
- Slinky Dog Dash – At least 38 inches / 97 centimeters
- Star Tours – At least 40 inches / 102 centimeters
- Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance – At least 40 inches / (102 centimeters
- The Tower of Terror – At least 40 inches / 102 centimeters
Rides/Attractions With No Height Requirement
- Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway
- Toy Story Mania!
- Shows – Beauty and the Beast, Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular, etc
Can I Get a FastPass for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance?
As of June 2020, the only way to ride Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance is through the virtual queue system. That means Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance is not currently eligible for FastPasses. There is also no standby entrance, so you will have to arrive at the park early to join a boarding group using the My Disney Experience App.
We recommend arriving at the park an hour before the scheduled opening time. As long as your entire party is through the gates before the opening time, you will be able to join a boarding group. Make sure you stand in an area with good cellphone reception as the virtual queue usually fills up within minutes of the park opening. You may also want to avoid getting in line for Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway at park opening if they are allowing people to wait inside where cellphone reception may be poor.
If Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run is Not Your Tier 1 FastPass, Ride it Later in the Day
As the newest area of Hollywood Studios, Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is extremely crowded in the morning and early afternoon. It is also the farthest part of the park from the main entrance. If you were unable to get a Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run FastPass, you may be tempted to wait in the standby line first thing in the morning.
While that is not the worst strategy in the world, we recommend waiting until the late afternoon or evening when crowds die down in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. Instead, pick Slinky Dog Dash or Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway as your first ride. You will not only get those rides out of the way early, but you will also be much closer to other rides so you can jump on something else right after getting off before lines get too long in the morning. Here are two possible options.
1. Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway followed by Tower of Tower or Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster
2. Slinky Dog Dash followed by Toy Story Mania or Alien Swirling Saucers
The Vacationer Tip
Use the single rider lines for Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster. The single rider lines for those attractions are usually much shorter than the traditional lines. This strategy also allows you to use your FastPasses on other popular rides.
Suggested FastPass Times
Because of heavy morning crowds from Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, we recommend a slightly different timing strategy for FastPasses at Hollywood Studios. Usually, we recommend scheduling your FastPasses between the hours of 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., which is two to three hours after the park opens. This allows you to enjoy short lines in the early morning hours and skip the longer afternoon lines with your FastPasses.
Since Hollywood Studios is so crowded in the early morning, we recommend scheduling your first FastPass for about an hour after the park opens. This allows you the opportunity to ride one or two popular rides when the standby lines aren’t as long right after opening at rope drop. Since lines get long quickly, you can avoid most of the heavy morning lines with your FastPasses. This strategy will also allow you to use up your FastPasses earlier in the day, which means you may have a chance to book a Tier 1 or popular Tier 2 as your fourth FastPass.
Schedule Your Hollywood Studios FastPasses as Far Out as Possible
As previously discussed, guests staying at Disney Resort hotels and other select hotels can book FastPasses 60 days in advance beginning at 7 a.m. EST. Guests not staying at eligible hotels can book 30 days in advance.
As always, we recommend booking as soon as possible. Hollywood Studios is currently Disney World’s most popular park, and FastPasses are limited.
You are eligible to schedule FastPasses 60 days in advance of the first day of your stay at an eligible hotel. This means you can actually schedule your Hollywood Studios FastPasses more than 60 days in advance. For example, if your first day at an eligible Disney resort is on June 1, your window to start booking begins on April 2. If you are scheduled to go to Hollywood Studios on June 4, you can still make FastPass reservations on April 2 since the hotel check-in date opens the window and not the day you go to the park.
Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway, Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run, and Slinky Dog Dash
You can book Hollywood Studios FastPasses 60 days in advance if you are staying at an eligible hotel. If you are not, you can book 30 days in advance.
You can book three FastPasses in advance. After using your initial three, you can book more.
Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster
No. The only way to ride Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance is to get a boarding pass.
They are free as are all FastPasses at Walt Disney World.
The Vacationer’s Final Thoughts
The huge crowds created by Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance have made it harder to see Disney’s Hollywood Studios in a single day. Take advantage of the two single rider lines and book your FastPasses as far in advance as possible. Arrive early to get a Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance boarding pass and rope drop one of the top rides that you do not have a FastPass for. While difficult, it is possible to see every ride, attraction, and show in a single day at the Hollywood Studios using the strategies outlined in this post.
Featured Image by Jeremy Thompson via Flickr
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